Iran Displays Advanced New Weapons

New Brief — May 12, 2014

New Iranian cruise missile the Ya Ali. Click to enlarge

Over the past few years and prompted by the implicit threat of impending Western military strikes, Iran has steadily developed its defence capability.
While American politicians would probably be loath to admit it, Iran’s growing defence capabilities have probably deterred U.S. airstrikes on its disputed nuclear program.
Although Western ‘experts’ might dispute the level of development achieved, by its own efforts Iran has grown into a regional military power of some sophistication and magnitude.
It is not another Iraq; to be sure. It is much more formidable and technically accomplished and Western military intelligence knows this.
This is why the long anticipated military strike on Iran has yet to materialise. This is also why, in its place we’ve seen subterfuge and the repeated assassinations of Iranian scientists.
Hesitant to confront Iran directly, as they once did with Iraq, Western powers have instead resorted to assassinations, sabotage and efforts to foment internal dissent.
This hasn’t been entirely successful and Iran has continued to develop nonetheless.
Given recent its experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has little stomach for another all-out conflict, which is why its more recent military escapades have been covert or fought with proxies as in Syria.
So recent developments in Iran must be making U.S. military planners and technocrats heartily sick.
After all America has the most powerful, most sophisticated and lavishly funded military on the planet. In recent decades it has fought three major conflicts against relatively ill-equipped and unsophisticated opponents — Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — and in each case America has been unable to win an outright victory.
In each conflict the U.S. finally withdrew, or plans to withdraw in Afghanistan, while its proxies fought a rear guard action as it did so. Effectively covering what was essentially a retreat.
In each case America wasn’t able to capitalise militarily on its obvious technical superiority. So recent news from Iran is unlikely to be welcomed by U.S. military technocrats.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei views the Third of Khordad Air Defence system. Click to enlarge

On Sunday Iran unveiled a range of new and enhanced weapons which mark a new level of sophistication in the country’s weapons development.
The weapons have been almost entirely indigenously developed and among them was a new air defence system capable of tracking multiple targets.
The ‘Third of Kordad air defence system can track and engage up to four different airborne targets simultaneously at a distance of fifty kilometres.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander said the Third of Kordad could be compared to the Russian S-300 and that its range will be increased to 100km and then 200km in future.
The Third of Khordad air defense system can trace and target fighter jets, bombers and cruise missiles to a maximum altitude of 25,000 meters. While the system itself is housed in a vehicle together with its radar, tracking and missile-launching systems, making it entirely mobile.

Zelzal missiles. Click to enlarge

During the exhibition by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Ayatollah Khamenei was also shown a new cruise missile the Ya Ali. With an effective range of over 700 kilometres the Ya Ali almost doubles the range of Iran’s cruise missile capability.
In addition the exhibition also featured an upgraded version of the short-range surface-to-surface missile the Zelzal. With a range of 300 kilometres, the upgrades enable the Zelzal to carry a warhead with 30 17 kilo Multiple Reentry Vehicles (MRV); effectively expanding the perimeter of its killing zone.
Thus making a Zelzal strike more deadly over a wider area and making it the weapon of choice for use against enemy runways, unfortified military installations and troop concentrations.

Iranian replica of RQ 170 drone. Click to enlarge

However, the highlight of the IRGC show was undoubtedly the unveiling of a back-engineered replica of America’s own RQ-170 military drone.
Based on the captured U.S. drone the IRGC seized control of while it flew a reconnaissance mission over Iran in 2011, the replica RQ-170 must seem like salt to the wounded pride of America’s technocrats.

The stealth drone’s existence was never officially acknowledged until Iran broadcast footage of the captured drone, largely intact.
Not only did Iran seize control of one of America’s most advanced military drones, they also broke its operating codes and deduced that it had flown 13 missions over Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In addition Iranian scientists also opened up a treasure trove of advanced military computer technology and now, to add insult to injury, Iran says it will equip its replica of the surveillance drone with an additional weapons capability.

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